WGAE: Sexual Harassment Is 'Hallmark' of Industry

Pledges to help find solutions, though acknowledges some members may be 'perpetrators'

The Writers Guild of America East says it is committed to helping its members report and prevent the kind of sexual "harassment and assault" attributed to producer Harvey Weinstein, abuse it argues is typical of the industry.

It also plans to reach out to members for input on any experiences they may have had, though it said it could be a struggle to change the culture given that "sometimes our own members might be perpetrators."

In a joint statement, WGAE President Beau Willimon and Executive Director Lowell Peterson among others, thanked the "brave women and intrepid reporters" who brought the abuses to light.

They argue that such harassment and assault "have long been hallmarks of the entertainment industry" and that "Those who have the courage to speak out often do so at professional and emotional risk. All too often no action or insufficient action is the result."

They said the union had a role in "moving the industry in the right direction," and in the near term to make sure its members can work free of such harassment and assault.

They said the culture of silence would be tough to change.

"The WGAE’s elected leaders and professional staff are undertaking a thorough review of the tools we currently possess and of additional steps the union can take to facilitate prevention, reporting, review, counseling and protection."

They said they will be reaching out to members for input on their experiences.

The pair also linked the issue to a lack of diversity. "In the long run it will be imperative to address the industry’s lack of diversity – the profound imbalance of power in the business of creating and distributing stories."